Imágenes de páginas


D'Israeli's Curiositics of Literalure.

(June, recreation, the complaint of Rousseau, D'Israeli himself may be cited as an noticed in the same work, has been exainple of this. His first series of uttered by multitudes.

“ Curiosities of Literature,” (publishSuch is the contexture of our ab- ed 1793) betrays a very different standstracting powers, such the capricious- ard of thought and sentiment from ness of our faculties, (now slumber- that which characterizes the last series ing in torpor, now roused to active of that work, or his book on “The energy,) such the fleeting nature of Literary Character," which alike disits images, that the life of almost every play discriminating genius and vigour thinking individual furnishes periods of fancy. when he !aments, with this philoso- Upon the very principles so well pher, the temporary oblivion which so analyzed and classified by Dr. Gesoon shades his brighest visions. “ He, rard, it may be almost assumed with we are told, “ devoted the long sleep- a degree of certainty, that the organiless intervals of his nights to these pur- zation of a mind in which genius has suits, and meditating in bed with his obtained a seat, feels enjoyments and eyes closed, he turned over his periods gratifications, which, as they are pecoin a tumult of ideas; but when he liar to itself, so also rank very high in rose and had dressed, all was vanished; degree. and when he sat down to his papers,

While we dwell with responsive he had nothing to write."

feelings on the variety, felicity, and I would finally remark of the book justness of the sentiments and imagery under notice, and which forms a de- which he has adopted in his analysis, lightful manual for the student, fond we think that in them we recogoize of luxuriating over the memorials of the warranted position that those who intellectual greatness, that in opening are the subjects of this happy associahis subject, its author, as, perhaps, in tion of mind, are, likewise, the votaduty bound, from the high universa- ries of singularly high and refined pleality of the subject he so well illustrates, li is well said that “genius is advocates certain positions upon ge- properly the faculty of invention.”nius, which have, by some, been con

Hence the tumult of ideas which rush troverted. He takes up his ground, it through the mind of an individual is to be presumed,

on a view of those

who has intensely contemplated a subdevelopements of character which his ject in its various bearings, comes acprocess afforded. But when he teaches, companied with a sensation of pleaas may be collected from what he has sure as difficult to be defined as it is said, that the staple of bis speculations real in its operation. The deep thinker -Genius—is an intuitive gift from will, it is irue, experience an uneasiearly childhood, how can he reconcile mess in some of these moments of abwith this position certain phenomena straction which ill accords with this connected with its history?

alleged pleasure, -as, in the language The well-authenticated fact, that its of Dr. Gerard, "when a person starts possessors have for many years ap- the first hint of a new invention, and peared destitute of a single spark, un- a number of apposite conceptions are til a course of initiatory discipline has collected, various views of their conkindled the embers, and ai length nexions open to him, and perples his blown them to a Aame, contradicts choice." But by degrees the prosthis, and favours the doctrine taught pect clears." Then succeeds the ex(although too indiscriminately,) by citement of soul so frequently felt and Reynolds, and by the philosophy (and spoken of, so difficult to be reduced 10 this last is not so bad but that much a demonstrative shape, or to be comgood may be extracted from it,) of Hel- prehended even by the uninitiated ; yetius. «

Education,” says he, in sup- when the cloud of bright visions, port of his dogma, however indispen- which had thrown a sort of chaos over sable in a cultivated mind, produces the imagination, and order and me nothing on the side of Genius, for where thod unite with the associating priaeducation ends, genius often begins. ciple, in marshalling our vagrant Indubitably it does, and a fair casuist thoughts into a more sober and co(we should say) would thence argue herent shape. ihat education had much more than a Melksham.

ALCIPHRON. subordinate share in producing it.


[ 513 ]


[ocr errors]

84. The Life, Diary, and Correspondence of human lions, like such as we shall

Sir William Dugdale, Knight, sometime never see again, men who leaped from
Garler Principal King of Arms, with an the ground into the saddle, shelled
Appendir, containing an Account of his

over with nearly a hundred weight of pullished Works, an Index lo his Manu, iron. But not only these brawny sons script Collections, Copies of Monumental of our old English'Herculean nobility Inscriptions to the Memory of the Dugdale and gentry does Dugdale depict, but Family, and Heraldic Grants and Pedigrees. Edited by William Hamper, Esq. aforesaid taylorism, set off by town

he brings us to their fire-sides. The F. S. A. 410. pp. 529.

manners, has brought Frenchness and WHAT King's College Chapel is the grievous expense of frippery and among buildings, Dugdale is ainong show into the whole system of gentleauthors; and what is odd, he appears man-living. Country esquires now never to have been an infant, boy, or spend what Lords did fifty years ago. youth. He was seemingly born an Allowing that the money is usefully old man; and whoever reads one work dispersed for the maintenance of the only, that romantic and chivalrous people, yet the spenders find it hard to law-book, (for such is its real character) get water enough for their pumps. the famous “Warwickshire,” will find Our ancestors felt not these evils. it impossible not to feel, that he is in- They bought estates, if they could, out sensibly conveyed into an old gable of their savings, wives' fortunes and ended Manor - House, among old legacies, for younger children, and chairs, beds, and tables, old relatives stocked them easily from their enorand old friends, who have grown old mous stores of cattle. The inferior in the country, old grey-headed do- gentry and opulent yeomen planted mestics, old dogs and old cats, sprawl. their children (like quicksets) in a ing before old fire places, old fat ring fence around them, i. e. set them coach horses, and old shaggy pads, and up in adjacent market towns, even in old aunts fond of telling old saws of trades, and we could mention daughold ancestors. Dugdale was, in truth, a ters of High-sheriffs apprenticed to man after Sir Roger de Coverley's own milliners. Such were the times in heart; and like him we Antiquaries which Dugdale lived; and we find love to see,in the mind's eye, the cap-a- him, in pp. 226, 228, making interest pie Knight riding, up to the draw- to procure the situation of a lady's bridge, and the tunicked Squire sound- maid for one of his daughters. For in ing his bugle ; we prefer the warlike those days lady's maids were

not statue of shining steel to the Frenchified menials, but like nymphs, who acbaberdashery of modern uniforms; companied goddesses, state attendants we prefer the lance in rest to those upon a tilted foster-inother. Admita great popguns on wheels, called can- ting that these were not the days of non; the graceful long-bow to long- every body a gentleman; that in truth, handled cricket bats, fitted with iron no persons as to habits and manners tubes, and called muskets, and the were Chesterfield gentlefolks ; yet hero's falchion to those spoiled swords people were not miserable from ine without hilts, denominaied bayonets. necessity of wearing a perpetual blister War is no longer picturesque. It is plaster, endless expence, in order to tragedy, attired in the costume of keep respectability in good health, and comedy, or improved costume of show- they drank no spirits, to propagate liver men and tumblers. Taylorism lords complaints. All they wanied for food it supreme; and well it niay; for the and common raiment was drawn genius of the shears has rendered more from the domain and stock; holiservice to the military among girls of day best clothes were boxed up, and beauty and wealth, than all ihe rardy mothers left their court dresses io their promotions of the Crown. Our fore- daugliters. In truth, there were very farbers regarded not however lady-like many excellent habits among our anmen; and Dugdale introduces us to cestors. To mention only a few Gent. Mag. June, 1827.

514 Review.-Hamper's Life of Sir W. Dugdale. [June, education and provision for the child- rectnesst of Protestantism, not from ren of the neighbouring gentry in approving the former, but merely betheir family - contributions for the cause it was the oldest, and had most to marriage portions of their girls, and of do with antiquities and heraldry. But humbler 'females-almshouses for de- there is a praise due to Dugdale,which cayed servants-hospitality towards all we (only we perhaps) see in his writdependants—uncorrupted natural sym- ings, and which if it had more followpathies, the source of their sentiments ers in the present day, would we think -the best gift of the Almighty, divine be a great public benefit. LYING, we charity—veneration for the tombs of do not mean the literal and base, but ancestors, and the good condition of the moral construction of the term, is that holy fabrick, which the sublime the rattle-snake venom which perGray did not despise, the village rades modern thinking; facts, however church ;-benefactions for repairs of plain they may be, are concealed or roads and bridges ;—Christmas meals distorted, in order to be adapted to and happy faces among the poor-a some artificial conventional system; desire without grudging or ostentation not to truth or nature. Life in busito communicate worldly good and fe- ness it has made speculative and gamelicity. These were the principles and sterlike; happiness it has placed in feelings, which living in the country money and sensualism only; religion and ancient habits suggested. How in popular quackery, and politics in verily we love the patriarchism of our the editorial comments of newspapers; ancestors. Our political economists whereas in those valuable luxuries, will tell us indeed of the far superior without which liberty would have no state of things at present, growing out performance, improvement no growth, they say of their own golden age. But and public opinion no concern with the idea is unfounded. The savings government, the facts only are to be of old women in mob caps, and of regarded, not the opinions of men, who these our worsted-stockinged ances- write upon mere principles of adrotors, furnished the cash borrowed by cacy, and yet ridiculously claim to be Government ; and, from the vast in- treated as honest uprightjudges. Dugcrease of income thus ensuing; re- dale was impregnable to political missidence in cities and towns, and ex- chief, and we hold up (for dearly do cessive population, originally at least, we cherish his memory) to public esproceeded; those phenomena which teem, his deeply-principled veneration political economists make the effects for ancient institutions in the followof their mythology.* With the right ing words from an excellent little or wrong of these matters we have book, recently published. I however nothing to do. Dugdale did

“ Flexibility towards publick opinion,and not live in our times. He bought no an indulgence towards publick folly, are shares in joint stock companies ; he in this our day cried up and overloaded with followed no charlatan preachers, or many injudicious commendations. Nerercharlatan philosophers; he saw their theless (Dugdale) kept in view consistency. bubbles scattered to the winds by a Thinking one way, he scorned to set character composed of low cunning another. He would not listen to clamour. and military ferocity, lawyerism and He would not yield to the infatuation of his soldierism, the character of Cromwell, day—lut in times, when the voice of the as justly given by Voltaire ; but he many pretended to exact the obedience of succumbed to none. Confined to only

the few, he took for his moral the stern and King's Bench rules of a mile from his unyielding virtues of those great men to

whose firmness and unbending determination own country-house, he felt no other

we owe the basis of our constitution. He sufferings than sorrow that it should

was, strictly speaking, "a church and king impede his ransacking records, and

man.” That liberal and dangerous policy abstracting charters. That any thing which admitted into the bosom of governcould be wrong in ancient manners, ment all the numberless ramifications of he thought not. He made no distinc sectarianism, never had his approval. Nor tion between the fraudulent supersti- could he ever suffer himself to be convinced, tion of Popery and the scriptural cor- that these men were the true friends of their * We do not deny the existeuce of a

t See this work, 429. political economy; only the empiricism so 1 The Vallies, or Scenes and Thoughts denominated.

from secluded life. 2 vols, 12 mo.


1827] Review.-Ellis's Letters on English History. 515 country, and least of all supporters of the excels, for he conducts them with Protestant Ascendancy, who thus enılan- learning, skill, temper, and taste. gered that sway of uniformity, peace, and Well does he understand, that if good order, which it cost some of the best things grow out of circumstances, the blood of our ancestors visions of these liberalists appeared to him antiquary is a better illustrator than to be futile ; their plans full of plausibility, give an extract, which confirms our

the philosopher; and we shall here thinly hiding the real consequences; and

position, and inay hold up for reformahe lived to see, that when success attended their efforts, the people had speedily to la

tion a very interesting part of the ment the overthrow of all that is venerable kingdom. Every body has heard of and national amongst us. In short, he the ravenous appetite of the Welch for thought that a false liberality, an impru- going to law, for superstition, fanatident indulgence of the prejudices of others, cism, hawking begging petitions, enand a weak regard to intemperate clamour, deavours to overreach, corruption in have too often taken place of that unshaken their juries, and perjury in their witfirmness and manly confidence in their own

Among a people, so warm judgments, which best become the aristo- hearted, and full of numerous good cracy of a nation like this.”

feelings, the occurrence of such civil We should as soon think of making evils is a problem, which baffles phishort work with our money, as making losophy, because it has no connexion short work with Dugdale, and having with the moral history of man, as man. commenced with some valuable points It grew out of circumstances, as apin his character, we shall next proceed pears by the following extracts from a to the contents of the work before us. letter of “Richard Prise, of Breck

nock, to Lord Burghley, upon the

abuse of the Commortha, and the 85. Original Letters illustrative of English general state of Wales. (iii. 41.) History: including numerous Royal Let

Begging Petitions, Overreaching, &c. ters, from Autographs in the British Mu

Whear of ancient time it hathe been accus. seum, and one or two other Collections. With Notes and lilustrations by Henry lence, called Comortha, to relieve such as by

tomed in Wales, with a kinde of free benevoEllis, F. R. S., Sec. S. A. Keeper of the Manuscripts in the British Museum. Se- some great misfortune were decaied and fallen

into povertie, the cond Series, in four Volumes.

same proceeding (no

dowte) of a charitalıle and good meaning at WE are inclined to think that the the first, is nowe, in the generall corrupdevil coaxes historians as he did Fve, tion of all good thinges, growen to so great and with equal success.

There are at abuse, that it is no more a free giving unto least strong signs iu historians of the the poor decaied, but more than halfe a ravages of original sin, and the tempia

constrained exacting of lewd oficers, as untions (according to Commentators on dersheriffes, bailiffes of lordships and their the Lord's Prayer) peculiar to Tovmpq, tlemen ; such as having consumed theyr

deputies, with such like : and of unruly genviz. infidelity, philosophical presumption, and other intellectual vices. Have light and disordered persons, will seek to re

owne ryotously, and in the maintening of we not scriptural authority for think- dresse their fall and meinteyne their ryott, ing, that Hume and Gibbon are mas- by this colourable spoile of the poore true terly specimens of the devil's diplo subjects ; yea and of murderers and errant matic talents; while others of a meaner theifes also, which having by some means proficiency in corruption exhibit weak- escaped the law, doo retorne immediately ness, partiality, prejudice, and various (as unto a last refuge) unto these outradefects of learning, judgment, and gious Comorthaes.” taste, indicative likewise of a fall of It is known, that not ten years ago man in the essentials of History? But a murderer took refuge in the mines, as that is the most instructive of all and has escaped justice from that time sciences, its imperfection is the more to the present day. to be regretted. Were it however far The'fondness' for litigation grew more perfect than it really is, and out of another archaism, and shows was written more often by literary first, that Burke was correct, when he Abels than Cains, there would still be said that cheapness of law was many things so unsatisfactory or con- blessing; and secondly, that comfused as to require miscroscopical in- monness of oaths and frequency of vestigation or chemical filtering. In going to law introduces perjury. such processes, Mr. Ellis eminently “ Also whear the Sheriff over and beside


516 Review.-Ellis's Letters on English History. (June, his monthly high countie courtes and turues daughter, and living and dwelling with them in their times, doth every thre weekes at as manie doth most abominably [lt recently the least in every hundred of the shire, prevailed among the lead miners at Rhydkeep a courte in the manner of a courte fengigaid. Nichols, Camp. Trav. 572.) baron for that whole hundred, and whereas seing they are not instructed in the fear of besides that every hundred is either a lord- God. But this lack of good teachers doth ship of itself or hathe divers lordships with partly growe by reason the churches are, ia in it (as appereth hereunder written for the manner all impropriate, and do livinges left com. of Brecknock) in every of which lord- to maintein sufficient curates but such as ships bothe iij leet courtes yearly, and please the proprietaries and their fermors courtes baron every thre weekes are holden io geve, which commonly will gere as little and kept for determining of actions under as they can.” iii. 48. the valew of xls. by verdict of vi men,or else

How much Wales was behind Foz by wager of lawe; which actions are almost infinite, by reason that the people are

land in civilization, Mr. Ellis further overmoch inclined to quarrelles and full of instances in the retention of rery largaining [whence the habit of over- ancien i superstitions,and holding fairs reaching ] ; and for the more speedy re- upon Sundays. Now we could mencovery of their demandes in those thre tion a parish church of a market town, wekes Courtes doo use to sever one entiery or populous village, where the sacradets (as for example of xx li more or lesse, ment had not been administered for by several bills of xxxix s. 11d. Forasınoche years, and the shops kept open on as manye inconvenyences, especially two, Sundays, which evils were only abowhich are very great,doo growe therby first lished' four or five years ago, by a daily and (almost) infinite perjuries, through clerical magistrate who happened temthe continual use of wagers of lawe (radiare porarily to perform the church duty. legem, to give security to go to law upon a

We speak in no ill-will, but merely day assigned-see Cowell] whereby it is in manner growen into an habite amongst the

to attract attention ; for Wales is the people and reckoned no vice.” pp. 44. 45.

most beautiful part of this island, and He therefore recommends, in abate. only requires greater approximation to

English habits and refinements to ment of these evils, longer intervals

make it a favourile land of riches and between holding the couris; and then

comfort. proceeds to show the bad effects upon the morals and civilization of the

We shall now revert to the first vopeople, resulting from an insufficient lume, and go through it in series.

The first fifteen letters relate to the endowment of ihe Established Clergy. “ In this whole shire of Brecknock there contain many important historical facts.

rebellion of Owen Glendower; and are scarce ij learned and sufficient pastors; We have read that his insurrection deand for a greate parte some one 'slender chaplain, which can but read the divine stroyed full two hundred thousand inservice, doth serve ij, some iij parishes, and

habitants of this thinly peopled region. those two or thre miles asunder at the least, Now as unsuccessful insurrections alwherby the comon people are so rude and ways strengthen the existing governignorant in the most necessary pointes of ment, this depopulation prevented the the Christian Faith, that over inany of them Welch from ever rising again. cannot as moche as saie the Lordes Praier The next series refers to the gallant and Articles of the Belief in anie language reign of Henry the Fifth ; and anong that they understand. And therefore it is the letters [No. xix. ) is a long account no marvell, that they are very injurious one of the barbarism of Ireland, which to another, and live in contempt both of Mr. Ellis justly observes, was then in the lawes of God and man, as in keeping the game wild state, as it had been, one his brother's wief, another his wief's

when first conquered by Henry the

Second. To us, they appear to have * The following curious instance of this been mere human wolves. is told. Some tourists to Snowdon, overtaken by a storm, took shelter in a bovel, established a permanent navy. The

Henry was the first of our Kings who where they saw three peasants, apparently first ship contracted for at Bayonne eating dry bread, who begged for a donation, because the times were so bad, they could

was 186 'feet in length, (i. 67.)only earn mere bread and water

. The tra- Henry found at Harfleur in “ gold vellers relieved them, but after departure coyned xxx m. li. in sylver coyned returning suddenly, found, that the other MM li.” (i. 83.) an enormous and side of the dry bread was for half an inch very unusual disproportion. thick, covered with butter.

The Letters during the reigns of

« AnteriorContinuar »